This past Sunday in church one of the prayer requests was for an inmate on death row in Florida. It was a reminder for all of us that our state and our country continue to implement the death penalty even though mistakes are made and innocent people are killed; it does not act as a deterrent; and it is exorbitantly expensive for the tax payers. As Christians, we also believe that the death penalty is immoral and against the dictates of our faith.
LUCC has recently become involved in advocating against the death penalty. At a meeting of people of faith gathered to discuss what we can do about this heinous immorality, an important point was mentioned. To stop the use of the death penalty in Florida we don’t have to turn to Congress in Washington. We don’t have to depend on the Florida legislature. No laws need to be changed. One person has the power to stop the use of the death penalty in Florida. One person. The governor. Rick Scott.
This was an important reminder about the power that just one person can have. Maybe sometimes we don’t take action in a situation because we think we are powerless to have an impact. Good luck trying to get a law passed or changed these days! But we should remember that one person can make a difference. One person matters.
Again we see the importance of this idea relative to the death penalty. Maybe we can’t get the law changed right away, maybe we can’t get everyone off death row, but maybe we can save one life. Or two. Or more. Just by influencing one person – Rick Scott.
I know that when I heard the person at the death penalty meeting say we just had to change the mind of one person, I was encouraged by the impact we could potentially have. Up until then, the idea of making a difference on this issue seemed out of reach. But influencing one person, that seems more within the realm of possibility. We can work for peace. One issue at a time. One policy at a time. One person at a time. One life saved at a time. And we can make a difference. This perspective can help us to resist becoming apathetic or overwhelmed.
Can you think of a time that you feel you influenced one person’s view of something? Can you think of an instance in which you changed your mind about an issue? Peace is that close!
Prayer: We pray that our hearts would not become hardened. It’s so easy to become insulated, numbed, distracted, or apathetic. When we don’t care, we lose our humanity. We deny the image of God within us. May we open our hearts and let ourselves be influenced by the pain of the world. May we be motivated by the suffering around us. May we have the heart to take action and to be transformed as we work for peace in the world. Amen.